The Future is Voice: Start building now

Just as the world adjusts to the proliferation of screens, the emerging conversational economy is going to fundamentally transform our lives again.

This report, titled The Future is Voice, was produced by Digital Workforce Australia and AlphaBeta. It shows how voice-first technology will be a game-changer in how governments and businesses interact with the people they serve.

Three in 10 Australian adults now use ‘smart speakers’ that use artificially intelligent voice assistants to check the weather, order groceries, and control smart home systems like lights, music and temperature. These are already evolving into highly capable, always-listening systems that – if properly and ethically implemented – promise to improve the speed, convenience and quality of customer interactions.

While the technology is still in its early days, it could soon mean the end of today’s clunky website menus and IVR (interactive voice response) systems that have frustrated call centre customers for decades by routing them through list after list of pre-programmed options. In a 2016 survey, 12% of consumers said they primarily used voice technology to “avoid confusing menus”.

Industry leaders in banking, government, healthcare and other sectors have already built advanced conversational technology capable of tasks that include: understanding and prioritising hospital patients’ bedside requests; coaching patients through recovery; responding to financial and tax queries; communicating complex government policy changes; and even offering fashion advice.

This report offers an in-depth look at the development and opportunities of the conversational economy and provides a 10-step roadmap to help governments and businesses prepare for this next wave of digital innovation.

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